Via the eightbar blog, this quote from Mike Rhodin, General Manager of IBM Lotus software, caught my interest because of the focus on metaverses linked with other trends in collaboration, such as unified communication:
"The Virtual Workplace will become the rule. No need to leave the office. Just bring it along. Desk phones and desktop computers will gradually disappear, replaced by mobile devices, including laptops, that take on traditional office capabilities. Social networking tools and virtual world meeting experiences will simulate the feeling on being their in-person. Work models will be changed by expanded globalisation and green business initiatives that reduce travel and encourage work at home... The definition of 'meetings' will radically transform and become increasingly adhoc and instantaneous based on context and need. 3-D virtual world and gaming technologies will significantly influence online corporate meeting experiences to deliver more life-like experiences demanded by the next generation workers who will operate more efficiently in this familiar environment."
I think some careful interpretation of the word "Virtual Workplace" is needed (i.e. will we be sitting at home working inside a virtual world or rather the workplace will become even more virtualised), but there is no doubt how we collaborate and the options we have to collaborate are approaching an interesting step change. But lets not forget social capital while we are on this journey.
The rest of the post has some links to related articles from around the Web about what IBM is saying and doing in this space.